Review by Cain Suleyman with Photography by Cath Dupuy

I felt like I was in an American Jazz/Blues bar. 6/7 members of tonight’s musicians strutted to the stage to begin the perfect opener. Shoe Boot. The drummer starts the beat, the bassist adds the groove and the horns moan to inform 5,000 sets of ears that the night has begun!

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It was a night that many were looking forward to, with the St Louis’ musicians being on the music scene since 2013, releasing 3 albums during this time. But what we weren’t expecting was the raw, emotional talent that came in the form of LION, who began her attempts at breaking into the industry with an EP released in 2018. It seems that people make unnecessary fuss around emerging talents, with there being the potential for this to be met with disappointment when expectations aren’t met. However, it is extremely safe to say that there are exciting waves coming out of this camp.

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There’s a lovely contradiction in her voice that sees a delicacy being sharply met with rough growls that makes the hairs on your skin stand on end. I am very cautious when I say this, but there is a strong Kurt Cobain-esc quality to her voice which really does bring back a slight feeling that I have when listening to Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged album. It’s rock. Unapologetic and dirty rock. A genre that sees many great bands making this a difficult genre to make a name for yourself.

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It was a weird night because here we have LION, who opens the night with with kick in the teeth rock, yet the crowd is prepared for plenty of dancing and the much cleaner sounds from The Night Sweats. Did it work? I’m not sure. But one thing was clear, everyone was here to have a good time and a good time everyone had!

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As The Night Sweats open the set, Nathaniel Rateliff’s presence is met with an overwhelming onset of applause and cheering. His hands take hold of the mic and his powerful voice resonates with every spectator.

The setlist was well put together by the band, with there always being a strong importance with the decision of what song to play after another. After a number of high energy tunes, the night gets taken down a tone as the band play ‘Say It Louder’, a song that is met with full voice as a response the bands extremely entertaining night. It just worked. The energy was still present but just in a different way. It was an incredibly happy point in the night, with smiles all around the stage.

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A little further down the line, Nathaniel exclaims, ‘You Worry Me’, as the piano rings out to begin the song of the same name. It’s such a feel good song that when it begins, an overwhelming sense of happiness fills the venue. A big part of this comes from the main man at the centre of attention. Nathaniel Rateliff’s live voice is just spectacular. Not only does he sing each song with such perfection, he also brings such strong emotions to each lyric that leaves his mouth. There’s a connection there, between singer and audience member, that takes some musicians years to master. This is an emotional song that clearly comes from deep within Rateliff’s heart and to be able to perform this on a nightly basis and bring the same amount of heart to the song is extremely admirable.

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Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and the beginning of this particular conclusion came in the form of a song that everyone in the world would have heard in their life. ’S.O.B.’ It’s unmistakeable. You hear the stomping and the clapping and almost instantly, everyone in the room follows suit. Screams of SOB fill the space in a unison that even puts a coral of fish’s unison to shame. Not a single foot is planted to the floor as the stalls see waves of people dancing. Even when the band leave and we all spill out of the venue, that song is still sung on mass in the freezing cold to keep everyone warm.

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Setlist:
Shoe boot
Be there
Look it here
I’ve been failing
I did it
Say it louder
Howling at nothing
A little honey
Cooling out
Out on the weekend
Shake
You worry me
Wasting time
Babe I know
Intro
I’ll be damned
S.O.B
I need never get old

Encore:
Trying so hard
Hey mama
Tearing at the seems

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